Update – At its meeting on October 15th, the BPA Board voted, 8 to 1, to adopt the following resolution:
“The Barron Park Association will discontinue its charter of Pack 52 and Troop 52. The Pack 52 charter shall be discontinued as of November 30, 2013 and the Troop 52 charter shall be discontinued no later than November 30, 2014, or sooner should they obtain a new charter organization”
The Cub Scout Pack 52 has tentatively already found an alternative organization that would be its sponsor.
The following is the personal opinion of Barron Park Resident and BPA Board member Art Liberman. It does not represent the position of the BPA or the BPA Board. However, this item will be discussed and acted upon at the October 15th BPA Board Meeting.
Should the BPA continue to be a Chartering Organization for the Boy Scouts of America? My answer is NO.
For some years, the Barron Park Association has sponsored a Boy Scout troop and a Cub Scout pack affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America. I have come to the conclusion that we should sever our connection with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) because of their discriminatory policies. We should encourage the troop and pack leaders to find other organizations as sponsors to minimize the effect on the boys currently active in this program.
The BSA terminology for an organization that sponsors a Boy Scout troop is a “chartered organization.” In practice, a BPA Board Member signs a piece of paper at the end of each year from the BSA that defines the responsibilities of the sponsoring organization. By signing the Charter AgreementAnnual Charter Agreement with the BSA, the BPA agrees to “Conduct the Scouting program according to its own policies and guidelines as well as those of the Boy Scouts of America.” In effect, this says that in conducting or supervising the scout program, we – the BPA – are bound to follow the policies of the BSA, including their discriminatory policies, whether we personally approve them or not.
The BSA of today is not “your grandfather’s” Boy Scouts. For most of its history the BSA allowed individual troops to define their own rules, but this changed in recent decades. The national organization of the BSA has recently updated its membership policies to allow gay scouts but reaffirmed its policy that does not allow gay adult troop leaders. To fulfill its requirement in the Charter Agreement, the BPA Board member must affirm that scout troop leaders and other volunteers are not “open or avowed homosexuals.” The BSA couches its policy in terms of protecting the scouts, but this policy doesn’t target pedophiles but just all adults of a certain sexual orientation – it is discriminatory and unacceptable.
The issue before the BPA Board is not to assess the value of scouting to the participants. That’s a separate question. What the BPA Board needs to decide is whether it’s appropriate for the BPA to be affiliated with the national BSA given its current membership and volunteer policies.
There is a second reason why the BPA should disengage from the BSA. The BPA does not fulfill another requirement of a chartered organization, which is to “Include Scouting as part of its overall program for youth to meet the developmental needs for every age level.” Unlike some churches or other community organizations that sponsor BSA troops, the BPA does not have any youth development programs as part of its objectives or in any of its activities.